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MAPS: Unsung heroes of the missile field

These Airmen are responsible for performing maintenance on equipment used within the missile complex.

The 91st Maintenance Group mechanical and pneudraulics section Global Strike Challenge team pose with their equipment at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., May 30, 2017. The four-member MAPS GSC team disassembled, inspected and tested guided missile maintenance platform components. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman J.T. Armstrong)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

When missile alert facility and launch facility equipment needs to be inspected or repaired, 791st Maintenance Squadron mechanical and pneudraulics section maintainers take charge.

From chain hoists to payload transporters, these Airmen are responsible for performing maintenance on equipment used within the missile complex.

Through periodic inspections, MAPS Airmen maintain 91st Missile Wing equipment to support U.S. Strategic Command’s nuclear deterrence mission.

“We provide direct support to Operation Global Citadel by inspecting and maintaining equipment to ensure it remains serviceable,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Cook, 791st MXS MAPS trainer.

Outside of periodic maintenance, which includes anything from 30-day inspections to annual inspections, these maintainers also perform corrective maintenance.

“If a payload transporter or transporter erector, which carries sections of a missile, comes back to us with any discrepancies, we’ll fix it as soon as possible,” Cook said.

With attention to detail and following their unit’s technical orders, these maintainers ensure missile alert teams are able to complete their mission.

“Our ultimate goal is to enable alert teams to go to the missile complex and do their job,” said Senior Airman John Conner, 791st MXS MAPS team chief. “We work on equipment that allows Airmen to get into the site, so if we don’t do our job correctly, our maintainers wouldn’t be able to do theirs.”

Conner added that their unit has a hand in maintaining almost all equipment at MAFs and LFs.

“If we’re not giving 100 percent of our effort, then it’ll cause a negative chain reaction, which could hinder the mission,” Conner said.

Cook noted how the importance of their career field provides a great sense of pride in what they do.

“It feels great knowing what we do has such a huge impact on the mission,” Cook said. “Whenever I’m leaving work and I see a convoy coming home, I know we did our job correctly because that team returned safely.”

Likewise, Conner also considers the results of their unit to be worthwhile.

“It’s rewarding to be a part of something so important,” Conner said. “It’s great to know we’re doing something that means so much to the Air Force Global Strike Command mission as a whole.”